The In Box
Slide Rule, owner of Building Blocks Inc., the No. 1 architect
working on the castle, walked into the room and literally slumped
down on to a stool.
"You look beat," said the jubilant King.
The very dejected Slide looked up at the happy King. "It's easy
for you to be happy. You're the King and everything is done for
you. As for me, I have to do everything myself, and I have all
these problems and things I need to get done. I get overwhelmed to
the point I can't move."
"Just ignore everything," stated Igor, owner of Moat Designs
Ltd., a general contractor. "That's what I do."
"Igor, that's why you're in such a financial mess," said the
"Thanks for reminding me."
The King started to pace. That was not a good sign.
"Why don't the two of you pull up some chairs and listen to my
wisdom. My Master Class is now in session."
"I can't do that," said Slide. "I've got too much to do and not
enough time to do it."
"Right," said Igor. "I agree with Slide. You, the King, have
nothing to worry about. And besides, as Slide pointed out,
everything is done for you."
"Really, is that what you think?"
Igor and Slide exchanged glances, and then both nodded their
heads in agreement.
"OK," the King said thoughtfully. "I'll tell you what, I'm going
to brief you on what's on my plate and how I manage it. This is
valuable for everyone, but particularly those in the construction
industry as there are so many details you must be responsible for.
However, you must promise not to tell anyone, as these are the
Kings' secrets, and if you did, the consequences would be
"We understand," replied Slide for both him and Igor.
"OK. First of all, the neighboring King has sent a messenger to
me that if we don't abandon the cornfields to the north, he's going
to attack our castle and tear it down to the ground. Also, I got
word through another messenger that there has been an outbreak of
an unknown disease to the west of us, and it seems to be traveling
in this direction. It's literally killing people right and left.
Last night the horses got out from the stable, and these were some
of the best trained war horses we have. If we don't get them back,
we're going to be very vulnerable to an attack. On top of that,
there hasn't been a good storm for quite some time, and if we don't
get any rain, it could be considered a drought, and that will
impact our winter food supply. Oh, and one more thing, one of my
Knights heard that several Squires are unhappy, and are gearing up
for an internal revolt. If I don't address that, and everything
else, I'm going to be in big trouble. There's more, but I won't
burden you with the details."
Slide and Igor looked at the King in silence with eyes like
owls. They both realized that they had nothing on their plate
compared to the burden the King was carrying.
"How do you remain so happy and in control?" asked Slide.
"You're always conveying to us a very confident outlook on life.
How can you do that with those kinds of burdens, that in fact, will
impact all of us?"
"The answer is very simple, and you can use the same technique
that I do to manage all of the stuff of life."
"But your stuff of life is really a lot more than the things we
carry around with us. I had no idea."
"So, what's the secret?" asked Igor.
"The secret is in a book authored by James Clavell, called
'Noble House.' It's about big business in Hong Kong in the '60s,
and focuses on seven days in the life of the tai-pan, Ian Dunross,
the leader of the Noble House. When asked how he manages his
burdens, Dunross explained '… that the only way to deal with
problems was the Asian way: to put them into individual
compartments and take them up only when ready for them.' He went on
to say that 'If you can't you'll go under-ulcers, heart attack, old
before your time, your health broken.'"
The King continued. "What Clavell was saying through his
character Ian Dunross was that you must free up your mind of your
everyday burdens. Literally, visualize yourself putting them in a
box, and locking them up. When you need to address them, take them
down and do what you have to do. You get what you think about, so
don't think about the bad stuff."
"So you're saying, if you carry them around with you, you'll
become like Slide. He's so overwhelmed he doesn't know which one to
do first. Don't let your problems get in the way of living."
"Very good Igor. Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying."
Slide was impressed. "You're a good King. Now I'm worried about
all of the other things that are happening in the Kingdom. What
else do you have that helps you?"
"Joss" is interpreted as "good fortune" in Hong Kong in the book
Ronald A. McKenzie is president of COMPASS
Consultants Corp., a strategic planning and marketing company
specializing in developing business growth. He is a published
author and has made nationwide presentations on the subject of
strategic planning and marketing. He can be reached at (630)
740-4434 or firstname.lastname@example.org.